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Skincare By The Decade: 40s

Woman applying Rodan + Fields Redefine product to her cheek

For many of us, big birthdays are a major marker — and we may notice changes with our skin as compared to the last decade. In our 40s, we start to see major changes with regard to skin’s firmness. You may be dealing with loss of volume and elasticity, in addition to wrinkles, fine lines and sun damage. The latter can show up in the form discoloration or dark spots. Learning more about skincare and creating the best routine for you, in addition to lifestyle adjustments, can help you look your best as you progress through this decade.  

Why our skin is aging  

As we approach our fourth decade, there are changes in our skin that impact visible signs of aging. Specifically, lower collagen production, depletion of hyaluronic acid and elastic fibers loss. As we progress through our 40s, our skin becomes drier and fine lines and wrinkles can become more apparent. Fun, right? The good news is that skincare can help us diminish the signs of aging with a consistent morning and evening anti-aging routine.  

Genetics versus lifestyle  

When it comes to aging in your 40s, genetics accounts for aging by 20%; 80% is lifestyle. The latter includes sun exposure, smoking, alcohol consumption and diet.  

Key ingredients for your skincare routine in your 40s 


Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives and this group includes Retinol and Retinal, and provitamin A carotenoids. Retinol cream is the most common form of this type of Vitamin A, although it can also be found in a serum or oil format. There’s also Retinal, which is more effective at stimulating collagen production than Retinol, yet it’s gentler on your skin. REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum is formulated with Retinal-MD Technology and comes in single-use, biodegradable capsules. When using products formulated with Retinoids, it’s best to avoid prolonged sun exposure. Because of that, it’s recommended to use these products in your PM routine. Always take sun safety measures, specifically, using an SPF daily. The sun is the #1 cause of aging when it comes to skin. 


Bakuchiol is a plant-derived ingredient whose skin benefits are comparable to a Retinol, but without the potential side effect of irritation. So, it’s good for those with sensitive skin. Some forms of Retinol are indeed derived from animal products. Bakuchiol is derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant, also known as the babchi plant. It’s important to check the origins of the Bakuchiol in your products. Rodan + Fields’ sources the Bakuchiol featured in REDEFINE Overnight Restorative Cream from edible seeds of babchi that are obtained sustainably, in compliance with ethical harvesting.  


Peptides have an effect on improving skin’s visible firmness, texture and bounce. Peptides trigger your skin cells to perform functions like building collagen and elastin, which can help your skin look and act younger. Peptides are proteins, like collagen, which are your anti-aging defense. Collagen can’t exist without Peptides. In other words, without collagen, your skin doesn’t have a defense against aging.  

Peptides are one of the few skincare components that scientists and dermatologists agree make a difference when it comes to combating the visible signs of aging — wrinkles, fine lines and loss of firmness. Peptides’ benefits go beyond the short-term. This tried-and-true ingredient has stood the test of time in the skincare realm and is still recommended by dermatologists. Peptides offer a range of demonstrable benefits to your skin, from making it stronger to giving it more resilience. In short, they can be a great addition to your skincare routine in your 40s.  

The importance of SPF 

Suncare is important from a preventative standpoint. Skin damage created by this point may or may not be able to be addressed, but you can always have an impact on how your skin ages in the future if you take care of it. The most vital part of your Regimen when it comes to preventative skincare is sunscreen. It’s the single skincare step you should never skip. “You can use the greatest anti-aging products that have ever been created, but if you aren’t sun protected, you undo all of that hard work,” Dr. Kathy Fields says. “Today we are assaulted from the environment in ways we didn’t imagine before, she says. Not just with the sun, but also with nanoparticles and lights of different intensities,” Dr. Kathy Fields adds.  

The sun’s rays are directly associated with aging. “Sun exposure is the skin’s worst enemy,” Dr. Katie Rodan says. UVA is the aging wavelength of light, and it’s present all year round, all day long. “It deeply penetrates the skin, breaking down collagen,” Dr. Katie Rodan says. UVB is the burning ray that destroys the epidermis. It burns the surface of the skin, causing redness and potentially, skin cancers. eventually skin cancers. “Whether it is cloudy, rainy, or bright, you need your sun protection every day because every day is ‘sunday’ as far as your skin is concerned,” Dr. Katie Rodan says.   

The Importance of a routine  

By your 40s, you probably know about the Importance of a routine, but we want to remind you because it’s easy to forget when life gets busy! Apply your skincare routine twice a day — morning and night — to see results. In that vein, make sure to do all the steps in your routine, as each step builds upon the last. With consistent use of the entire routine, you can expect to see visible results on your skin. 

Your best skincare routine for your 40s 

Step 1: Facial Cleanser  

A facial cleanser is important for you to use every evening to remove makeup, dirt and oil. Your cleanser of choice can also gently exfoliate with AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids to help slough off dead skin cells. Depending on your skin, you want to exfoliate 1-3 times per week.  

Step 2: Toner  

Toner helps with softening your skin and enabling penetration for the ingredients that follow in the next step. Toners also serve to cleanse your pores.  

Step 3: Eye Cream  

Eye creams for thinning under eye area help stave off the visible effects of aging. The eye area shows signs of aging first. Think crow’s feet, dark circles, under eye bags. To counteract the visible signs of aging near the eyes, it’s important to use an eye cream like REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream, morning and night.   

Step 4: Face Serum  

This step is optional if your skincare goals include either deeper hydration or a potent boost of retinoids. For hydration, try Active Hydration Serum. For a Retinal serum, try REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum.  

Step 5: Cream or Lotion with SPF 

Your moisturizer, whether you choose a cream or lotion, helps provide antiaging benefits, in addition to skin-restoring moisturization. Added SPF helps protect your skin from the elements that can lead to the visible effects of aging.  

Though it can be tempting, especially when you’re tired, do not skip any steps in your routine. Each step builds upon the next.  

Incorporate a healthy diet and exercise program 

Committing to at least an hour and a half of exercise a week goes a long way. You may want to try keeping track of your steps either by a smartwatch or an app on your phone and aim for reaching 10,000 steps a day at a minimum. Also, remember to drink plenty of water. It can be helpful to have a water reminder on your phone or smartwatch to help keep you hydrated. Sticking to a healthy routine will pay off when it comes to your skin.  

When will you see results?  

It typically takes about four weeks to begin to see the results of any skincare routine. That’s with consistent use, every morning and night. Using your full Regimen twice a day and being careful not to skip steps will help you achieve your anti-aging skincare goals and see the best results for your skin.  

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